Every year NIF researchers share their passion for science and technology at the Expanding Your Horizons conference for middle-school girls. (From left) Raluca Negres, Robin Miles, Kathleen Schaffers, Kendra Ruiz, and Louisa Pickworth are among the dozens of NIF staff members who devote their time to empower the next generation of scientists and engineers.
NIF partners with many other LLNL outreach and education programs. These programs are also looking for participants and volunteers. Join in and help spread the word about science and technology.
“NIF, through all that we’ve learned, has the responsibility to inform people in the community about what we do, what can be done, and why it’s important and exciting. And for students, this exposure can allow them to envision opportunities that they maybe never knew existed.”
—Kathleen Schaffers, chemist and NIF Expanding Your Horizons lead
Connecting the nation and the world to NIF’s activities, engaging the community, and paving the way for future generations to make important contributions to society are intrinsic elements of NIF’s stewardship mission.
A wide spectrum of education and outreach programs—many staffed by dedicated volunteers—aim to enrich the lives of community members, inspire and motivate students, and inform those looking for deeper knowledge of the universe. And sometimes when the stars align, a girl or boy participating in one of these programs discovers a path leading to a position working at NIF.
The quickest way to get a basic understanding of NIF is to step inside the room-sized Target Chamber replica inside LLNL’s Discovery Center (left), usually one of the first stops for students on science field trips to the Laboratory (right). The Discovery Center also offers demonstrations and hands-on activities that connect to the science of NIF.
NIF engineer Henry Hui demonstrates how laser light can travel through a bending stream of water by using a “Laser Light Fountain,” one of handful of laser demonstrations created by NIF to educate and delight young people. The NIF Laser Roadshow travels across the country to schools, museums, and science fairs to share the secrets of lasers with students, educators, and the public.
NIF is a highlight of LLNL’s biannual STEM Day at the Lab, a daylong interactive event focused on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics for students from local communities. These students are getting a closeup view of NIF targets from Becky Butlin (left) and Lila Ahrendes.
During a tour of NIF, Dave Mathison briefs high-school students who traveled from Chartwell School in Seaside, California, to learn about NIF’s missions. Hundreds of students a year are exposed to NIF on guided tours like this one .
NIF & Photon Science Summer Scholar Nick Parrilla shows his mentor, physicist Joe Ralph, x-ray diagnostic data from NIF implosions. Attracting bright undergraduate and graduate minds in science and engineering from colleges across the nation and abroad, NIF’s three-month-long Summer Scholar Program pairs students with mentors to gain valuable insight and hands-on exposure to cutting-edge research and technology. Scholars are challenged to contribute to areas including laser systems, optics, plasma physics, material science, software, and advanced diagnostics. More than 600 students have been NIF summer scholars. Credit: Jason Laurea.
From scientific journal covers to science outreach and education, graphic art plays a vital role in communicating complex concepts and ideas. John Jett’s National Ignition Facility comic book helps students—young and old—connect to the wonders of NIF.
Expanding Your Horizons, Laser Roadshow, and NIF Tours
Discovery Center and Fun with Science
“Inspiring Science Careers Through STEM Stories”
STEM, Science on Saturday, Science on Screen, and More
“Tour Guides Put NIF’s Best Foot Forward”
“Summer Scholars Tackle Big Science”
National Ignition Facility Comic Book
Next Up: Visitors and Tours